Impact of School Turnaround on Teacher Turnover

Posted by on April 28, 2014

What price turnarounds?

At 16 of the 17 Chicago public schools that underwent turnaround between 2007 and 2011, more than half the teachers hired in the first year had left by the third, reports Sarah Karp for Catalyst. In the 10 Chicago schools turned around last year, a third of the faculty had left by the start of the current school year. Chicago Public School (CPS) officials say most turnaround schools have higher-than-average student growth on standardized tests, but it has also been a rocky experience for schools experiencing the drastic measure in which an entire staff must reapply for their jobs and typically, most are not rehired. As Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has pointed out, turnarounds result in a loss of veteran black teachers with experience of the African-American neighborhoods where most turnarounds are located. Prior to turnarounds, more than two-thirds of teachers at targeted schools were black; among black teachers, two-thirds had more than 10 years of experience, according to Catalyst’s analysis. One year after turnaround, less than half of teachers at targeted schools were black and just 20 percent had over a decade of experience. Michael Hansen of the American Institutes for Research says there is surprisingly little research about whether changing the majority of a school’s staff leads to a better school. “The strategies being prescribed under Arne Duncan are under-researched,” he says.

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